A statement from former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, on Sunday expressing the need for a new crop of leaders for Nigeria from 2019 has continued to generate controversy. And it’s all because of the former president’s inconsistency and changing positions.
“In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for a new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country,” Babangida had said in his original statement.
Few hours after the statement was released, IBB released a second one disowning it and heaping the blame on his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, who he said the opinion belonged to. He said he had access to the highest authorities and does not need to write sensational statements to get his point across.
Less than 24 hours later, IBB – who is popularly referred to as Maradona, due to his long history of taking conflicting positions on important matters – recanted again. He spoke with Thisday newspaper, insisting that his “original statement still stands”.
He now claims that the second statement was issued by friends and had nothing to do with him, but expressed concern that his initial statement issued by his media aide, Mr. Kassim Afegbua, had been misrepresented by the media.
According to him, what his statement titled, “Towards a National Rebirth,” emphasised was for a new breed of leadership to emerge through the electoral process, but was not intended to deny President Muhammadu Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for in the 2019 elections.
There are reports that the second statement which was signed in Babangida’s name was actually issued and signed by his son, Mohammed, who preferred a toned down version. When Babangida got wind of the second version, he reportedly instructed Afegbua to reach out to media houses reaffirming the validity of the first statement.
READ IBB’s first statement HERE.
READ IBB’s second statement HERE.